Opening in its temporary home of Kenan Memorial Stadium, the No. 9 North Carolina men’s lacrosse team began the 2018 campaign with an assertive 17-10 win over Lafayette on Saturday afternoon, securing the program’s 20th straight season-opening win.
In comparison to most years, UNC (1-0) had quite the peculiar 2017 season. Although starting as defending national champions, the Tar Heels dealt with several ups and downs on their way to a strangely mediocre first-round exit in the NCAA Tournament.
After losing 10 seniors from the season prior, many question marks surrounded this year’s squad. Still, the current senior class has already established strong morale among its teammates.
“The veterans have really stepped up,” junior attackman Timmy Kelly said after his hat trick performance against the Leopards. “It’s really been positive for us. People like Kyle Mathie, Chris Cloutier, Joe Kenna, Will McBride have really just come in and fulfilled everything we have wanted and more."
Team captain Cloutier, who had his 21st straight game of scoring at least one goal on Saturday, agreed with Kelly's sentiment.